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John and Arlene Rec are serenaded by Vernon Green assistant social activities director Shelley Sparks during their 75th wedding anniversary luncheon on July 22.

Town and Village

An ageless love

John and Arlene Rec celebrate their 75th wedding anniversary

VERNON—John and Arlene Rec marked their 75th wedding anniversary last week with a lunchtime celebration at Vernon Green Nursing Home, where they live.

Both are 94 years old.

Arlene was born on Jan. 23, 1920, in South Vernon, above the railroad station where her family lived. Her mother, Alta (Richardson) Smith, was a homemaker. Her father, Guy Smith, was the station agent in South Vernon for many years back when the station was a busy passenger stop.

She grew up with five sisters: Helen, Ruby, Nora, Bernice, and Leona; and three brothers: Alan, Elwin, and Russell.

John was born in Bondsville, Mass., on May 30, 1920, the son of Antoinette (Sufruski) and Leon Rec. He grew up with two brothers, Frank and Thadeus. His mother was a spinner, while his father was a railroad telegrapher and postal worker.

Arlene went to school in Vernon and later went to Brattleboro High School. John attended school in Bondsville and later went to high school in Hinsdale, N.H.

They met at a local dance, Arlene said, and fell in love. They were married in Brattleboro in July 1939, and they made their home there for many years.

John served in the Army during World War II, and completed his education there. After the war, he worked for the Boston & Maine Railroad and the post office, while Arlene worked as a secretary and teacher’s aide.

She later went to college and graduated from Castleton State at 55.

The Recs raised two children, Jeanne and Michael. When the kids were growing up, Arlene was a Cub Scout volunteer and John coached Little League baseball.

John is also a member of the American Legion, the VFW, and the Elks Lodge

Music remained a love of the Recs, as John played the harmonica and accordion, while Arlene is a polka fan. She is also an artist with many paintings of the local area. Both love playing cards, dancing, and following the Red Sox.

Neither wanted to make a big deal of the milestone, but they warmed to the idea as they were presented with a special cake, sparkling grape juice for a toast, and a basket of cards from family and friends.

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Originally published in The Commons issue #265 (Wednesday, July 30, 2014). This story appeared on page A5.

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